Providence Marathon

Steve Mid-Way through the Providence MarathonHad an fair run today at the Providence Cox Sport Marathon in Rhode Island.  This incarnation of the 26.2 miler has become a popular post-Boston Marathon event.  I should not have been surprised at the large number Boston registrants — in addition to hope-to-be qualifiers — who were in Providence today.  I ran Boston three weeks ago as a training run for Providence (it is a loooong story).  But this year’s Patriots Day run was one of the hottest on record … temps in the upper 80′s.   Over 2,000 runners did not start the Boston Marathon, and almost no runner ran the time they’d hoped for.  So, Providence was a viable, nearby option for a better experience.

Today’s Providence Marathon saw temps in the comfortable 50s, with partly sunny-cloudy skies. Here are the results. I had planned to hold a pace between 8:00 and 8:10 min/mile, and pretty much did that (3:31:32 total, 8:04 min/mile).  Qualified for Boston 2013, which dictated dipping under 3:40:00 for this old man.  Did not feel really comfortable the entire race, mainly because I’ve been traveling and eating too much lately, haven’t put in the miles and ran the full-hot Boston (3:46) three weeks ago.

Was super that wife Amy and dog Milo met us at several spots on the course to provide encouragement, Gu, and GatorAid.  Amy and Milo ran the last 0.2 miles with me, which raised the cheers of the crowd near the finish line to a fever pitch.  Hope there will be some pics of that!

The course is a pretty quiet, nearly out and back trek, with some scenic views of the bay, golf courses, and park lands.  Rolling hills in miles 2-8 and 17-25 (which are across the same stretch of road).  My biggest complaint was that the mile markers were a mess.  Some were off by 0.2-0.3 miles.  So, I had mile splits ranging from 6:20 to 11:44 (yes, mile 20 came up 11:44 on my watch!).  See details below (#).  I missed going under 3:30 because I got lulled into thinking my pace between 15 and 20 miles was under 8 min/mile when it was probably a bit too slow.  I ran the last miles in 7:45-ish, but could not make up the time.  Other little things they could easily fix are at the water stops… for example:

  • - be consistent about whether water or GatorAid is at the first tables,
  • - when there is Gu, give it out at least 100 meters before the water table to give people time to consume the Gu before drinking the water,
  • - use larger cups … may seem like a waste, but I and others often had to grab two or three cups to get the liquids needed.

I’m motivated to get back into shape, and run a few short races this summer. Now that my job at the Web Foundation is over, I’ll have more time to run (oh yes, I need to spend some time looking for a new job too!)


# Here are my rough, rounded splits (mile, then pace) at the markers:

1     7:29
2     8:04
3     9:38* (co-runner said this was 0.2 miles late)
4     6:11*
5     8:12 (39:33 for 1st 5 miles)
6     7:32
7     9:01*
8     7:48
9     8:02
10   8:01 (roughly 40:25ish for 2nd 5 miles)
11   7:50
12   7:50
13   8:20 (1:43:28 for 1/2 marathon)
14   9:29*
15   6:31* (40:00ish for 3rd 5 miles)
16   8:20
17   8:05
18   7:35
19   7:04*
20   11:45* (42:45ish for 4th 5 miles)*
21   8:45*
22   7:48
23   8:10
24   7:46
25   7:55 (40:30ish for 5th 5 miles)
26   7:40

* splits and presumably mile markers that are way off

The 20 mile marker and time was the shocker. I was aiming for 3:30, and missed because the markers were off and/or I got very lazy between 15 and 20 miles. I just hope the overall distance was correct.

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